CALLED TO BE FAITHFUL
Faithful God, I worship You. Thank You for never giving up on me.
Read Luke 16:1–18
The Parable of the Shrewd Manager
16 Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 2 So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’
3 “The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— 4 I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’
5 “So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
6 “‘Nine hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,’ he replied.
“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’
7 “Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’
“‘A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,’ he replied.
“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’
8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?
13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.
16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.
18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
a Luke 16:6 Or about 3,000 liters
b Luke 16:7 Or about 30 tons
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is one of your responsibilities? Does it seem large or small?
Luke chapter 16 is about material possessions, and being held accountable for what we’ve been given.
We need to see today’s uncomfortable story in its wider context of both this chapter and Luke’s Gospel. Is Jesus teaching his disciples (1) to be dishonest? Or is he illustrating a point? As ever, he says that when the kingdom of God emerges (16), things are turned upside down: new friendships are established (9), and there is a change in attitude towards wealth (10–13.) Christ’s followers are to be children of the light, putting their trust in God, not in money and possessions; serving God alone, not material things that don’t last (13).
When Jesus comments on his story (8b–13), it’s not shrewdness he commends – that’s for the people of this world. Jesus focuses on being trustworthy and faithful even in little things (10–12). Both the servant and the master liked to be shrewd, prudent, wise. But God’s values are different from those of the world, whether in material things or from whom we seek approval (15). What we have been entrusted with, however large or small, is where we need to remain faithful and obedient (10–13,18).
The preacher C. H. Spurgeon once said that everyone will one day have to give an account of their time, talents, substance (or who you are), and influence. What will you say?
Think of moments over the past 24 hours when you didn’t put the things of the kingdom first, and ask for God’s forgiveness.